JAM Magazine CD Review

July , 2014
Review by Lisa Sullivan

Linkin Park

"The Hunting Party"

Label: Warner Brothers Records

The latest release from Linkin Park is an aggressive, no holds barred, in your face musical journey that reaches back to their first release Hybrid Theory. Stripped back to the basics, the band shines. This is the Linkin Park that first hit the scene in 2000. It's raw and real, and loaded with pointed lyrics that decry the current state of the world.

While there are still synthesizers and a hint of electronica, it is far less prevalent on this release than other recent recordings by the band. That's not necessarily a good thing or a bad thing. It's just one more side of a unique and incredibly talented ensemble of musicians.

All that we normally expect when we listen to Linkin Park can be found on this album. Chester's soaring, screeching vocals carry us on an emotional rollercoaster, as he vacillates from lamenting a lost love to calling out modern hypocrites. Mike anchors the vocals with soulful musings punctuated with intermittent rapping. Backed us by some amazingly precise dual guitar leads, pounding bass, and air tight drumbeats, every song on this release stands out.

That said, there are a few highlights. Guilty All The Same is reminiscent of old standards like One Step Closer and Bleed It Out. The addition of the Rakim’s rap musings brings a new dimension and demonstrates the versatility of Linkin Park. The song is a battle cry, asserting that before you point the finger at another, you better first examine your own motivations. Drawbar is a beautiful piano ode that leaves you yearning for more... only to discover it's an intro to Final Masquerade, carrying the established melody and delivering a painful narrative on the demise of love.

The final song, A Line In The Sand, is a tease. After closing tracks like the Messenger, Powerless, and The Little Things Give You Away, I prepared myself to be brought to my knees. And I was temporarily, as I absorbed the mournful, melodic intro and riveting lyrics. Then the tempo kicked up a notch and one of the most powerful pieces on the album cranked it up full throttle. Lyrically this song reminds me of Hands Held High, which in my opinion is the most moving song ever written about the impact of war. A Line In The Sand is a painful reminder that ignorance is not necessarily bliss.

All in all The Hunting Party is a great release. It's good to see Linkin Park changing it up and reaching back to their roots. They are such a versatile band and have the staying power and creativity to keep them on the forefront of the alternative rock genre. Other up and coming bands should take note... they could learn a lot from Linkin Park!